Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

When IDEA was reauthorized in 2004, AASA found many provisions that were consistent with the AASA legislative agenda, but there were a few provisions that caused lingering concern. On balance, AASA supported IDEA 2004 in both the House and Senate, and supported the bill that House and Senate negotiators finally worked out.

However, the bill also included provisions regarding parentally-placed students and it shifted the fiscal and service responsibilities for such students from the school district where the students lived to the school districts where the private schools attended by the students were located. This change puts school districts with private schools within their boundaries at a disadvantage because they have to use their federal funds to pay for services for students who do not live in the district. Further, the schools have to find all those students and negotiate services with private school administrators.

AASA Action: AASA is working to find a way to return to the 1997 language of IDEA that only holds public school districts responsible for students within their boundaries.

Since 1999 AASA has also been pushing for mandatory full funding of IDEA to ensure that school districts have sufficient funds to provide services to children. In 1975, when the law was originally passed, Congress promised to provide 40 percent of excess cost, which is now interpreted as 40 percent national average per pupil expenditure. However, Congress is currently paying only 17.8 percent and is currently slated to reduce its contribution.




Act Now! Ask your member of Congress to cosponsor AASA's new bill for mandatory full funding of IDEA, House Bill 821 or Senate Bill 1159.

Act Now! Inspired by the steps taken by Barrington Public School District in New Hampshire several years ago, AASA is renewing a nationwide project to bring increased attention to the federal shortfall of funding special education. With the 110th Congress preparing to convene, it is a perfect time to raise the importance of full funding for special education. AASA has created a template for every district to bill the federal government for their unpaid share of special education funding. Read a detailed memo about the IDEA invoice project (Word). Download the Excel spreadsheet invoice (Excel).

Act Now! Express your concern about private placement to your members of Congress and talk about the impact these new requirements are having on school districts. Urge them to support legislation to return to the 1997 language.


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IDEA Implementation

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act was reauthorized by Congress in 2004

AASA was able to point to many significant legislative changes that were made at the request of school administrators. In particular, the new law:

  • drives more dollars to schools
  • saves time on IEP meetings
  • reduces paperwork
  • attempts to reduce special education enrollment through early intervention
  • has better opportunity to resolve provisions that make the complaint process less adversarial
  • improves the complaint litigation process
  • restricts the ability of the U.S. Department of Education to make overreaching regulations

However, the new law did create some problems around private schooling, and missed an opportunity to adequately deal with teacher quality.

AASA is a member of the IDEA Partnership which pulls together more than 55 national organizations, technical assistance providers and organizations and agencies at state and local level to collaborate on improving outcomes for students and youth with disabilities.

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